What Your Skin Temperature Could Tell About Your Migraine

 

Voila

Lower Temperatures At Body Extremities Could Indicate Migraine In Women (1)

A small scale study observing a women-only population of 41 Finnish women stated that skin temperatures in migraining women can be used as a bio-marker of vascular health since migraineurs are more at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases than healthy populations.

The study’s report published in Autonomic Neuroscience also observed that those with migraines usually have colder nose as well as hand and feet and that it could be attributed to abnormalities in the underlying blood vessels.

Here’s a quick look at the study statistics: (2)

  • Total women studied: 41
  • Those with migraines: 12; 10 with family history of migraines
  • Those without migraines: 29; 9 with family history of migraines

Out of the 12 migraining women 7 were found to experience right-sides migraines and 5 suffered the brunt of left-sided pains. The migraining population experienced visual aura. The study used digital infrared camera to measure skin temperatures in both migraining and control group. Temperatures of the cheeks, nose, forehead, fingertips and toes were taken for comparisons during headache-free periods.

The following results were obtained:

  • Women with right-sided migraines had higher blood pressure.
  • Women with right-sided migraines had lower hand and finger temperatures.
  • Compared to controls (healthy population) there was a 12 deg C (9 deg F) difference in temperatures at the fingertips and nose (extremities)

This could be explained by the fact that migraineurs often have constricted peripheral arteries or impaired functioning of the autonomic nervous system which in turn also makes them more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases.

The average temperature of the nose and hands was about 16 deg C (approx 3.6 degrees F) lower in migraine subjects than controls. Of the migraine patients, 58% had skin temperatures below 30 deg C (or 86 deg F), which is considered a normal skin temperature, in both the nose and fingers.

However, it must be noted that this study was not only small sized but also did not include men. Larger population studies including men and other ethnic groups should be conducted to come to a definitive conclusion. It however, does provide some indication to the direction in which medication development can be done. Biofeedback as an alternative medical therapy makes use of this skin temperature differential in migraineurs to manage pain episodes.

 SOURCES

  1. Image Credit: Business Woman Worried Stock Photo; freedigitalphotos.net; Web January 2014; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Business_People_g201-Business_Woman_Worried_p76375.html
  2. The Connection Between Migraines and Skin Temperature; The Wall Street Journal; Web January 2013; http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303497804579242423379994080

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Biological Roots of Migraine Identified In Large Scale Genome Study

Gene Skull

12 genetic regions have been identified with migraine susceptibility (1)

How does a migraineur look to you when not experiencing a migraine attack?  I suspect you would say, ‘I had no idea ABC suffered migraines at all’ or ‘s/he looks fit and fine to me’. Correct. Both times…and that is what makes migraine as a neurological disorder very hard to study by researchers. The underlying pathologies and biomarkers are just not present during a non-episode.

To work around this problem, a team of international researchers at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute worked on 29 different genomic studies, including over 100,000 samples from both migraine patients and control samples – the best way we think to study neurological disorders like migraines and epilepsy and understand it’s biology.

12 regions of migraine susceptibility were identified out of which:

  • 8 regions were found in/ near genes known to play a role in controlling brain circuitries;
  • 2 regions were associated with genes that are responsible for maintaining healthy brain tissue;
  • Some regions of susceptibility lay close to a network of genes sensitive to oxidative stress, a biochemical process that results in the dysfunction of cells.

According to Dr Gisela Terwindt, co-author from Leiden University Medical Centre, “This large scale method of studying over 100,000 samples of healthy and affected people means we can tease out the genes that are important suspects and follow them up in the lab.” (2)

Besides this, the team also identified an additional 134 genetic regions potentially related to migraine susceptibility though statistical evidence backing it were not very strong. However, there have been other studies that exhibit that these statistically weaker culprits can play an equal part in the underlying biology of a disease or

As per Dr Mark Daly, from the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, “Effective studies that give us biological or biochemical results and insights are essential if we are to fully get to grips with this debilitating condition. Pursuing these studies in even larger samples and with denser maps of biological markers will increase our power to determine the roots and triggers of this disabling disorder.” (3)

SOURCES:

  1. Image credits: Human Head With DNA Structure; FreeDigitalPhotos.net;Victor Habbick; Web June 2013; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10073380
  2. Getting to Grips With Migraine: Researchers Identify Some of the Biological Roots of Migraine from Large-Scale Genome Study; Science Daily News; Web June 2013; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130623144952.htm
  3. Getting to grips with migraine; Cambridge Network; Web June 2013; http://www.cambridgenetwork.co.uk/news/getting-to-grips-with-migraine/

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